I am not a farmer. In fact, I am not even that great at taking care of the flowers in my yard. But when I want to see something grow, I need to think like a farmer. And that means thinking about what it will take for a seed to have the best chance to grow.
Any farmer will tell you, if you want a seed to grow, you need good soil. And to make good soil, you need to do three things: remove the rocks, add nutrients, and provide plenty of water.
When it comes to sharing The Gospel, the same thing is needed– good soil. That is, a heart that is fertile ground for the seeds of the Good News (Mark 13:1-8). And if we want to produce that good soil, we need to take the same three farmer-like actions: remove the rocks, add nutrients, and provide plenty of water.
What does this look like?
Remove The Rocks– Everybody has rocks in their heart. By rocks I mean those barriers in a person’s heart that keep them from fully and freely worshiping Jesus with their whole life. These barriers might be negative attitudes toward God, pain caused by other Christians, false beliefs, or idols that are ruling their life. Whatever the barriers, they must be removed if the seeds of The Gospel are going to grow. Our job as ‘spiritual farmers’ is to discern those barriers (by observing, asking good questions, and praying) in order to ask God to remove them.
Add Nutrients– Good soil is also full of good nutrients. Without nutrients in the soil a seed will have little chance at survival. As Christians, it is our job to make sure we’re doing everything we can to fill the soil of the hearts around us with good nutrients. By this I mean filling the hearts of others with the goodness of God.
Matthew 5:16– “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Luke 6:30-31– “Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”
Philippians 2:3-4– “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Imagine, if we lived out these commands, how open to The Gospel the hearts of those around us might be.
Provide Lots of Water– Rock-free, nutrient-rich soil is not enough for seeds to grow. Seeds, of course, need water. Our water is the Living Water from Heaven– Jesus Christ (John 4:10). Jesus is the well which never runs dry, He is the fire hydrant that gushes forth forever. But for some whose hearts are bone dry, His presence is too much. And as much as they might need to drink deeply from the Water that quenches all thirst, they might only accept the water that comes in drips. So how can we share this Living Water without scaring them to death?
Pray that Jesus would reveal Himself to them.
Pray that Jesus would care for all their burdens, needs, and pains.
Pray that you would be the presence of Jesus when you are around them.
Like the sun, only God can make things grow, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a responsibility to help the situation. So the next time you’re frustrated by someone who is unreceptive to The Gospel, ask yourself, have I done the work of a farmer? If you have, then don’t worry. In the proper time God will make things grow.